Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two to Three Meetings You Should Be Attending Each Month


Today was another day of meetings. The first meeting was impromptu and rescheduled from last week. The second meeting was a final planning session for a meeting later in the evening. The third meeting was canceled due to weather delays in the morning. And the fourth meeting (the one for which I held that brief planning session) was canceled after it started, due to lack of attendance.

Today's meetings, both those that were held and those that were canceled/postponed, were great meetings and/or held promise to be great meetings, as they broke from the norm (a planned panel discussion for teachers embarking on the 1:1 journey, a good news report, and a Breakout Edu demo).  I was sad that some of these meetings got postponed. This got me thinking about the meetings I enjoy attending.

I know. I know. I just heard you gasp in surprise that there could ever be a meeting that I enjoy (especially after reading Monday's post). But there is truth in this statement. The meetings I am describing, while not always fun or engaging, are informative and provide an opportunity for me to share my concerns and show my support. What meetings could I be talking about? My local Board of Education (BOE) meetings, PTA/PTSA, and/or my local education foundation.

While not a religious attendee of BOE or PTA meetings (I manage to attend 5-6 BOE meetings and 1-2 PTA meetings each school year), I find that they are beyond informative and allow me to participate in school business in ways not accessible unless done face to face. During these meetings I am able to gain information about school culture and climate, study team and group dynamics, observe how and what school and community leaders share. I have seen good decisions and bad decisions be voted upon. I have witnessed heated arguments (one I recorded and one I would like to forget forever). I have seen teachers show support for one another and showcase the talents of their students. There is so much to see and learn at these meetings. It was at my last BOE meeting that I witnessed passionate PTA members implore the board for extra funding for an expensive 6th grade field trip in one agenda line only to be followed in the next agenda line with news that our budget will need to be cut by $500,000, leading to cutting 5-7 teachers from the staff. Did I mention I live in a town that is considered one of the most underfunded in my state? Sad but true. While I am not pleased with that last bit of shared information, I am happy I was able to hear it first hand and share it with my community members who were not in attendance.

As for my local education foundation/fund, I have been a trustee for  seven years, serving as an executive board member for a few years and as a committee co-chair, chair, or member for all seven years. I find the work rewarding, knowing the moneys I help raise through myriad fundraisers go directly back into classrooms via a grant program, funding projects big and small.

So, while I am NOT a fan of meetings, these three are pretty regular exceptions. What meetings do you make it a point to attend? Why?

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